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[TR] Chamonix-Envers Des Aiguilles - Aiguille de R

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Trip: Chamonix-Envers Des Aiguilles - Aiguille de Roc, Pilier Sud


Date: 9/24/2009


Trip Report:

I hope to return to the Envers refuge uncountable times.


Nous prenons le train!



We took the last train for Montenvers after sleeping late and getting our things together. We'd had a big day in the Aiguilles Rouges the previous day.


Cecile takes a ladder toward the Mer de Glace.



The refuge was closed for the season. That doesn't mean you can't sleep there. We took an unfortunate amount of time to get water the next morning so we had a late start on the South Pillar. Piola's book calls it 500 m of climbing but it's more like 700 m, although some of it could definitely be simulclimbed.


I cut steps on the glacier below the route; it was quite steep and icy. The first pitch is an awesome 5c OW/chimney crack extravaganza. I found the best fist jam I've ever had somewhere in there.



The Mer de Glace makes quite the backdrop. And the granite is immaculate. The refuge and the Tour Rouge just above it are visible far below.



Despite Piola's comment indicating otherwise, I found the upper part of the route to be quite sustained at the grade (lots of 5b/c, whatever that means? In my limited experience, 5c means harder than 6a and approximately as hard as 6b...)



There's certainly more granite than there is skin on my fingertips and the backs of my hands.



The route was characterized by really stimulating climbing, for me, because there would be a pitch of stellar crack/corner climbing, which would apparently disappear every time. But each time, a move to the left or right - sometimes made by faith - would find another good feature to follow.



It was a lot of climbing. This is not the same TD grade as the TD grade on the Voie Rebuffat.



I put us at one of our most difficult pitches just below the top: a beautiful, slightly overhanging corner. (Certainly harder than 5c, but avoidable too.) We finally finished the route just as it got dark. Couldn't find the "broad sloping terrace" to regain the south side during our nuit blanche of rappels, so we made rappel after rappel until we reached the glacier on the other side of the hut.


Two rappels on ice and mud and some sketchy glacier glisse in our climbing shoes put us in position to have breakfast at the hut. But our boots, crampons, and axes were at the base of the South Pillar! (By the original plan, we were supposed to descend to the base of our route.) To make a long story short, I busted a move more difficult than anything on the route, protected only by one little nut, to regain our gear and avoid the glacier.


Then we returned to Montenvers ....





Gear Notes:

Prenez vos coinceurs.


Approach Notes:

Trains and Ladders

Edited by skykilo
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Unfortunately, I'm going to work today. I was in France for ~15 days.


Vive les vacances!


WOW! Amazing photos and climb, thanks for the stoke. That looks like one hellova a fun day. Amazing looking setting there too with the broken up glaciers and such. How long are you there for?


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